Feb 26

Tips from My Friend Fred

Fred Loves to Give Golf Tips

No, his name’s not really Fred, but he’ll go rough on me if I use his real name. He’d also give me an earful if I tell anyone he’s from Fresno, so I’ll just say he’s from Southern California.  Fred’s a golfer, just a good old one to three times per week golfer, sometimes more – and he loves to give golf tips.

Fred is one of the most avid golfers I’ve ever met. He plays everywhere, all the time, when he’s not being a super-computer geek for the military or various school systems. He’s been stationed in some of the most bizarre locations on earth, but he still finds a way to play golf. He also teaches it, whether you want him to or not. Unless you’re beating him convincingly, you’re going to get some golf tips. I really hate that, but I really like Fred.
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Fred isn’t going on tour any time soon. He shoots in the low 80s, and consistently demonstrates a pretty nice game of golf. But why should anyone listen to what someone who shoots in the low 80s has to say about anything golfish? That’s a sore point with Fred, because his tips are, according to him, more enlightened and advanced than his score shows. That’s all a recipe for making me furious, but I can’t, because some of those tips are good food for thought. Fred’s tips aren’t just about golf. They tie the game of golf to the way we handle ourselves in the daily regimen, and to the way we think of ourselves.

When you play a round with Fred, and you’re hitting bad shots, don’t bother bemoaning outwardly that you’re playing really badly today. Fred will turn to you, and without blinking, tell you that you’re not being honest with yourself, and that you play that way all the time. He thinks it’s easier for us to bellyache and camouflage our real game rather than to go truly fix it. He also suggests that the excuse of “not enough time to practice” is just that. If you want a good game of golf, you’ll find the time to go get it, just like you would with anything else you truly want. For most people, the greatest tip you can give them is to blow their cover – most amateur golfers have a fantasy belief of what their game is and should be, and a reality of what their game is – and the two are seldom the same. Bring them together, and you’ll be a happier golfer all around.
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fred 1Here’s one of Fred’s most eye-opening tips, and it is the most visible in putting. It is the observation that the majority of us don’t putt for the cup. We lag putt, no matter what the situation. We jockey for a two-putt, to save our scorecard hides, just like we do in life. Just end up close enough to the cup to avoid humiliation, and it will be all right. We will brag in the clubhouse that we putted a 36 stroke round on the green. Give most of us an eagle putt, he says, and our first reflex will be to preserve birdie, just so we can say that the big one didn’t get away. His tip to me was to go for the cup like a real man, even though we have never played golf together, and probably never will. I’m not sure how much honesty I can take, true or not, and some of those character builder four-footers take the man right out of me.

The putting tip, one of Fred’s favorites, comes from a man who professes to having no skill whatsoever in reading a green, except distance. I tell you all of this because he told me all of this. On the course, I won’t get near him. But, Fred is very sharp, and occasionally very wise. Next time I go out, I intend to make my game reflective of my professional gusto- shoot for the green, putt for the cup. As for Fred and his tips, he actually did break 80 the other day, and his scores are going the right direction. Look him up in Fresno, if you dare, but I think each person should have only one friend Fred. Just one, and not too often.

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